AP Global Football 10-Quotebox


James Porteous, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong.

"I've gone for Robin van Persie as top player just ahead of Lionel Messi this week, though there wasn't much in it. Both were key for their respective teams, Van Persie scoring his 65th goal in 77 league matches and his 10th in the past 10 games, and creating United's second in the 2-1 win over Liverpool.

"Again, for top team there wasn't much in it but I've gone for United, just because Liverpool is historically a bigger game for them than Malaga for Barca - albeit in terms of league position and form this season, Barca's task probably should have been harder than United's."

Filip Bondy, New York Daily News, United States.

"Van Persie - Amazing how he can flip, back-heel and redirect balls with such finishing power so close, under pressure."

Julian Bennetts, Hayters news agency, England.

"It had to be a Barcelona player, and naming Lionel Messi every week is getting boring - so Cesc Fabregas deserves some praise. He is starting to show his true value at the Nou Camp and his finish against Malaga was superb. Patrice Evra is also showing his best for Manchester United. Roberto Soldado and Edin Dzeko both produced impressive performances up front, and Federico Marchetti has now kept eight clean sheets in 15 Serie A games for Lazio - a major part in the club's rise to three points off the top of Serie A. Barcelona are simply astonishing. A total of 18 wins and one draw so far in La Liga means the title is all wrapped up before Christmas - and their latest victory was a fine one, at Malaga."

Tom Timmermann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, United States.

"Real Madrid has to pay a price for drawing with Osasuna, as does Juventus for drawing with Parma. Since Borussia Dortmund is still idle, that meant a big jump for Man City. Try as I might, I had to relent to put Chelsea in my top 10 after Tottenham had a scoreless draw with QPR. PSG's loss created an opening for Lazio, which hasn't lost since November, to move into my top 10. Another masterful game by Messi, with a goal and two assists against Malaga, puts him back on top. Van Persie's vote is as much for consistency as it is for production. The guy just keeps on scoring. Cristiano Ronaldo and David Villa both had multi-goal games, but they came in cup competition, which I just can't put as high a value on. Get a hat trick in a league match and you'll be at the top."

Paolo Condo, Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy.

"There is only Europe in mid-January fixtures, so the incredible run of Barcelona (55 points out of 57) finds no rivals. A fine away match for Chelsea, first winner in Stoke's bunker, deserves third place, and the technical leaders of the two teams, (Andres) Iniesta and (Frank) Lampard, repeat the same positions in my players' ranking. I'm particularly proud of "Don Andres," my first choice in the recent FIFA Ballon d'Or poll. I really appreciated the performance of Manchester City at the Emirates, with a beautiful goal from (James) Milner. Nobody stood out in the Italian weekend, but Napoli and Lazio are growing behind Juve's scoring problems. And in the noblest match of the week, Porto was always in control in Benfica's home."

Aurelio Capaldi, RAI Sport, Italy.

"Barcelona won 3-1 in Malaga and they've been scoring for 37 Liga games in a row. With Leo Messi scoring for the ninth consecutive time in La Liga just after his 4th Ballon d'Or, it was Iniesta who made the show in Malaga reminding everybody once again what a fantastic player he is. Manchester United dominated the game for one hour against Liverpool and that was enough to put another victory in their pocket with Robin van Persie still top scorer and always ready to make the difference."

Will Tidey, The Bleacher Report, United States.

"Lionel Messi - The little flea can't stop biting. Fresh from his Ballon d'Or coronation, Messi scored one and was involved in two others as Barcelona beat Malaga 3-1. Michael Carrick - The Manchester United midfielder outshone even Robin van Persie against Liverpool, dictating the game with calm authority. Antonio di Natale - Two goals for Udinese took his season tally to an impressive 14 in 16 games."

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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